This video, part of the Sanford Rose Associates search process, is designed to help prepare you for your upcoming candidate interview. Our purpose is to ensure that the candidate you’re interviewing wants to come to work for you. If during the interview or at any point throughout the process, a light bulb switch is on, and you have the revelation that, yes, this is the exact person you need to hire, our purpose is to give you interviewing tips and information that have that candidate wanting to come to work with your team.
First step: Take a moment and look at your physical office space through a new lens. What does someone entering your space see and experience? Is your boardroom or interviewing space or personal office dated and could use some modernization? Do you have anything on the walls that showcase your organization’s accomplishment or highlights your culture? Think through the impression you make as it relates to your physical office space.
Prior to your interview, make sure you’ve carved out some time for your recruiter to give you more information than you’ll simply find on a resume. You need to know several why’s from your recruiter.
First, make sure you know the specific details as to why this individual is open to making a move. Know more than he’s looking to take that next step in his career. Have a solid understanding of what the candidate doesn’t have currently that they’re looking to have within your organization. Know what is most important for this candidate to learn from your initial meeting as it relates to what he is looking to accomplish in this career move. Have your recruiter cover all imperative information around things such as family issues, relocation, compensation, or even foreseeable issues with resignation.
Second, make sure you know from your recruiter why you; why this candidate wants to talk with your firm as opposed to anyone else. What is it that initially sparked their interest? And how can you expand on that to have the candidate walk away with his own motivation factors addressed?
Third, make sure you know why not; any concerns this candidate has. It could be concerns with cost of living if relocation is involved, or stability, or any other detail no matter how large or small. This is the opportunity to address them either openly or candidly throughout the interview.
Let’s move on to a few quick tips for the interview, itself. When the candidate arrives, give them a bottled water without them having to ask or accept it. Make small talk as you’re walking to your office or to a conference room. And compliment them on something no matter how small. Sit in a private conference room if possible, if not make it a habit to turn off your computer monitor, silence your cell phone, and decline all incoming calls.
Have a copy of their resume already printed and on your desk and give them some printed materials to review in return if appropriate. Take notes; it shows that you’re listening. Don’t take too many notes; it makes the candidate feel like they’re in a therapy session. Practice the 50/50 balance; talking versus listening. Whoever talks the most feels the conversation has gone the best. Make sure it’s the candidate.
Resist the three-minute rule. It’s human nature to base your opinion about a candidate on your gut feeling you developed during the first few minutes of the interview. To some extent that tendency can be harnessed as a kind of intrinsic sixth sense, but make sure to ask plenty of questions that give concrete information around those areas that are most essential to the hiring decision.
Have a strategy. Know what questions you’re going to ask and make sure the interview is purposeful and gives you a complete understanding of what a candidate has done in the past so you understand what they will do for you in the future.
If you feel the need to discuss money in this meeting, we would encourage you to only verify that what you have is correct for his current compensation. If you try to negotiate further, it’s been our experience that negotiations this early on are not accurate negotiations because the candidate still doesn’t know yet if he wants to come on board. If you must cover, simply ask what the candidate is expecting in terms of compensation and try not to close further. The purpose of this meeting is to get him excited, which will allow us to keep the candidate realistic if and when it comes down to the offer stage.
Clearly articulate next steps of what the candidate should expect from you following the interview, either directly or through your recruiter, and communicate the forthcoming process and the timelines for an ultimate decision.
These are just a few suggestions for a successful first interview, all designed to keep the decision resting with you for next steps.